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Archaeologists find network of ancient tunnels at Houchengzui

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Archaeologists excavating at Houchengzui in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region have uncovered a network of ancient tunnels.

Houchengzui, also known as Houchengzui Stone City, is an archaeological site located on the northern shore of the Hun River within Qingshuihe County, situated in the Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Previous excavations have dated the city to around 4,300 to 4,500 years ago during the Longshan period, which saw the emergence of late Neolithic societies such as the Black Pottery or Longshan culture.

Encompassing approximately 341 acres in an oval layout, Houchengzui consists of both an inner and outer city, fortified by a triple defensive system comprised of trenches and walls.

According to an announcement by the Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), excavations have revealed a network of underground tunnels, which were used as an ancient transportation network and also provided a defensive and offensive purpose.

A total of 6 underground tunnel passages were discovered at a dept of between 1.5 to 6 metres, which are distributed in a radial pattern from the city centre. The tunnels have an arched ceiling, similar to cave dwellings from the Longshan culture, and measure around 1 to 2 metres in height by 1.5 metres wide.

According to Sun Jinsong, director of the Cultural Relics and Archaeology Academy of Inner Mongolia, the surrounding moats as well as the outer defensive perimeters (known as barbicans) were the focus of recent research.

Excavations also uncovered three city gates, namely the main city gate (CM1), the urn city gate (CM2), and the outer urn city gate (CM3). The main city gate is located in the middle of the outer city wall and is rectangular in plan with a doorway flanked by earthen platforms on either side.

Archaeologists also found other defensive structures, including city walls and bastions-structures that project outward from the walls to allow defensive fire in different directions.

Header Image Credit : CASS

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Elite Petén style structures found near Kohunlich

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Construction works for a road in Section 7 of the Mayan Train have uncovered elite Petén style structures near Kohunlich in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Kohunlich is a large Maya polity that served as a regional centre along the trade routes through the southern Yucatán.

The site was first settled around 200 BC, with the majority of its monuments being built between AD 250 to AD 600 during the Early Classic Period.

The city features elevated platforms, plazas, pyramids, and citadels, all enclosed by palace platforms. The layout of Kohunlich was carefully arranged to direct drainage into a network of cisterns and a massive reservoir for rainwater collection.

Construction works for a road on the periphery of Kohunlich have resulted in the discovery of elite structures in the Petén style, a distinct type of Maya architecture and inscription style.

Archaeologists have identified seven structures in total, interpreted to be elite homesteads of a domestic nature that were used for agricultural activities.

Most of the structures have a rectangular plan and vaulted rooms adorned with decorative Petén style elements.

Given their archaeological importance, experts from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have registered the monuments for protection.

Consequently, the planned route of the road has been redirected to preserve the structures in situ, where they will be preserved and open to the public in the near future.

Excavations also unearthed various archaeological materials, including ceramics, shells, fragments of human bone, and objects intentionally buried as offerings likely during the construction of the homesteads for protection.

Header Image Credit : Maya Train

Sources : National Institute of Anthropology and History

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Gold foils discovered in Ancient Egyptian tombs

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Archaeologists from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities have discovered rare gold foils during excavations at Tel El-Dir.

Tel El-Dir is a burial complex in the area of Egypt’s Damietta Governorate. The site contains various burials and tombs from the 26th Dynasty (664 BC to 525 BC), the last native dynasty of ancient Egypt before the Persian conquest in 525 BC.

Excavations of 63 mud brick tombs and pit burials have revealed a large collection of funerary offerings, including rare gold foils depicting Ancient Egyptian deities, and foils shaped like symbols associated with good fortune and protection.

The team also found foils in the shape of tongues, a tradition that enabled the deceased to speak before the court of Osiris in the afterlife.

Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

The discovery follows on from a previous haul in 2022, where archaeologists excavating at Tel El-Dir found gold foils depicting Isis, Bastet and Horus (in the form of a winged falcon), as well as foils in various shapes.

According to a press statement from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, many of the tombs contained funeral pyres, imported and local ceramics, and Ushabti statues (figurines placed with the deceased to serve them in the afterlife).

The excavation has also yielded a large number of funerary offerings, such as protective amulets, figurines, coins, and a mirror.

Speaking on the finds, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities explained that the objects confirm that Damietta was a centre of trade during ancient times, and provides new insights into the burial practices during the 26th Dynasty.

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Sources : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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